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Teaching Others to Read After a Brain Injury

January 13, 2021

Molei Wright, who survived a car accident as she was heading over Kenosha Pass for a day of skiing in January 2016, defies all the odds. After the accident, she was rushed to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver where doctors weren’t sure she’d live. In fact, they only gave her a 1% chance. She proved them wrong, and after four months, she was transferred to Craig Hospital.

“When I finally gained consciousness in May, I knew miracles were going to happen,” Molei says. “I remember Dr. Spier coming into my room, which was filled with pictures, and he said to remember to include photos of myself now too. So, I took more photos and am so glad I did. It helped me see my progress and embrace my life.”

Molei Wright in hospital bed

She regularly asked Dr. Spier and her care team when she would be able to do routine things again and learned how every traumatic brain injury (TBI) is different. “They told me they would help me with whatever was possible since there is no playbook for TBI recovery,” she says. “There were times when I was so frustrated and wanted to quit. But you can’t.”

At Craig, she learned how to walk, eat and talk again. "Always have hope," she says. "Just know that you can do it."

Molei Wright with Craig Hospital's Dr. Spier

Molei grew up playing the piano and was excited to participate in Craig’s music therapy program. The program helped her work on her speech and breath control. And even though she couldn’t play the piano during her recovery, she found she could still read music. “I didn’t realize how much was involved in playing music until after my injury,” says Molei. “Unfortunately, there was a misfiring from my brain to my hands to be able to play. But I always wanted to play the cello and started learning how two months ago. It’s a slow process but it’s all new so my brain is relearning.”

Like learning to play the cello, Molei has embraced other lifelong learning opportunities as well as helping others. Two years ago, she joined her boyfriend as he tutored a student in reading at a local elementary school, and she found herself chiming in a lot. She then decided to find her own student to tutor, and after that went very well, Molei started tutoring multiple students. “It is a passion, not a job, for me. I have a scooter so I could get to and from the school. I was tutoring about 28 hours per week before COVID-19.” She now tutors students online.

Molei Wright using a scooter

More than four years later, Molei is walking again and living a life that once seemed beyond reach. She’s finishing a book about her miraculous journey of rehabilitation that she hopes will inspire others. "Even if someone says you can't do it, prove them wrong," she says. "I want people to see that anything is possible."

Molei Wright skiing with friends